Amateur Abby Arevalo birdied the tough closing hole and stunned Pauline del Rosario by one to snare the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Championship at Riviera’s Langer course in Silang, Cavite on Thursday.
The winning birdie came off a brilliant 6-iron approach shot from 150 yards off a divot lie, the ball sailing over the overcast skies before landing 10 feet at back of the pin on No. 18.
“I couldn’t believe I won,” said the 18-year-old Arevalo, groping for words while trying to savor her biggest victory in a young amateur career.
“I never expected the putt would be for the win. But I really made a good read of it,” added Arevalo, who has also posted a number of victories abroad as member of Team ICTSI.
That birdie capped Arevalo’s closing 70 for a one-over 214 aggregate, frustrating Del Rosario no end after the back-to-back Ladies Philippine Golf Tour winner braced for a playoff after drawing level at two-over overall following Arevalo’s flubbed three-footer for par on the 17th.
But Arevalo had other things in mind.
Unleashing a power drive off the 18th mound, Arevalo bucked the gnawing pressure and followed it up with a solid approach shot despite hitting it over a bad spot.
Del Rosario also hit a good drive and made it in two but missed her birdie putt from 15 feet. She wound up with a 72 and finished second at 215 although she still pocketed the top purse of P150,000.
With erstwhile joint leader Thai Saruttaya Ngam-usan failing to recover from a double-bogey mishap on No. 2, Arevalo took the challenger’s role – and the lead – with an impressive 34 start, moving 2-up as del Rosario fumbled with a 37.
An Arevalo bogey on the 11th and a del Rosario birdie on the next tied the duo at one-over overall but regained the lead on the latter’s bogey on No. 14. A missed par putt by Arevalo from close range on the 17th, however, enabled del Rosario to gain a share of the lead again.
Arevalo thus became the first amateur to win on the circuit this year after three players in the ranks racked up victories last year, including teammate Bernice Ilas-Olivarez (Beverly Place), Yuka Saso (Eagle Ridge) and Harmie Constantino (Mt. Malarayat).
Thai Chatprapa Siriprakob matched par 71 and finished third at 217 worth P95,000 while reigning Philippine Ladies Open champion Bianca Pagdanganan finally broke par at the par-71 ravine-laced layout, closing out with a 70 and snaring fourth place at 220.
Thai Saruttaya Ngam-usan, tied with Del Rosario after 36 holes, succumbed to pressure and tough condition early and never recovered from a double-bogey on No. 2, limping with a backside 43 and an 80. She tumbled to fifth at 223.
Thais Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang and Tiranan Yoopan shared sixth place at 224 after a 72 and 76, respectively, while another Thai Numa Gulyanamitta rallied with a 73 to grab eighth place at 228 followed by Sarinee Thitiratanakorn, also of Thailand, who pooled a 231 after an 81.
Apple Fudolin carded a 77 for a 232 and placed 10th in the 54-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.